John O'Hart.

Irish pedigrees; or, The origin and stem of the Irish nation (Volume 1) online

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So careful, however, were the Milesian colonists of their genealogies, that
they maintained a class of men to record and preserve them ; for, with
them a man's right of inheritance to property depended on his genealogy,
except where " might" took the place of " right." Our


records, and chronicles were therefore at certain periods carefully examined,
m order to have them purged of any errors which might from time to time
liave crept into them; and, thus revised, those state documents formed
the materials from which, in the third century of the Christian era, was
compiled by order of the celebrated Monarch, King Cormac Mac Art, the
history of the Irish Nation, from the earliest period, which was called the
rsalter of fara; from which and other more recent records was written in
the ninth century by Cormac MacCullinan, the bishop-king of Munster,
the noble work known as the Psalter of Cashel— the origmal of which is
deposited m the Library of the British Museum, London.

In the fifth century, St. Patrick, St. Benignus, and St. Carioch were,
according to the Four Masters, three of the nine personages appointed by

* life : See the Abbd MacGeoghegan's Eistory of Ireland,



the triennial parliament of Tara, in the reign of Laeghaire,* the 128th
Monarch of Ireland: "to review, examine, and reduce into order all the
monuments of antiquity, genealogies, chronicles, and records of the
Kingdom." These monuments of antiquity, genealogies, chronicles, and
records so revised, examined, and reduced into order, by St. Patrick and
his coUeaiiues on that occasion, were carefully preserved in our national
archives up to the Danish and Anglo-Norman invasions of Ireland : atter
which some of the Irish Manuscripts were ruthlessly destroyed by the
invaders; some were conveyed to Belgium, Denmark, England, 1 ranee,
Kome, etc. ; some were preserved inpubhc and private libraries in Ireland ;
and some were deposited for safe-keeping in Irish and Scotch Convents
and Monasteries.


In his search for authentic records from which to compile the Annala
Bioghacta Eireann (or "The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland ) now
known as the The Annals of the Four Masters, Michael Clery, their chief
author, and a monk of the Order of St. Francis, appears to have found
the most important of the ancient Irish records; for, he states that he
compiled the Irish Genealogies " from the ancient and approved chronicles,
records, and other books of antiquity of the Kingdom of Ireland.

Addressing his friend Fargal (or Farrell) O'Gara, lord of Moy-0 Gara
and Coolavin (" one of the two knights elected to represent the county
Sli^o in the Parliament held in Dublin, this present year of our Lord,
1631"), to whom the Annals of the Four Masters were inscribed, Michael
O'Clery says in his Dedication page :

"On the 22nd January, a.d. 1632, this work ^vas undertaken in the Convent of
Donegal, and was finished in the same Convent on the 10th day of August 1636;
being the eleventh year of the reign of Charles, King of England, France, Scotland,
and Ireland."
O'Clery proceeds :

" In every country enlightened by civiHzation, and confirmed therein through a
succession of ages, it has been customary to record the events produced by time ±or
sundry reasons nothing was deemed more profitable and honourable than to study and
peruse the works of ancient writers, who gave a faithful account of the chief s and noblej
who figured on the stage of life in the preceding ages : that posterity might be informed
how their forefathers employed their time, how long they continued m power, and how
they finished their days."
O'Clery continues :

" In consequence of your uneasiness on the general ignorance of our civil histoiy,
and of the monarchs, provincial kings, lords, and chieftains who flourished in this
country through a succession of ages ; with equal want of knowledge ot the syn-
chronism necessary for throwing light on the transactions of each, I have inlormed you

* Laeqhaire: Ware begins his "Antiquities of Ireland" with the reign of this
Monarch, and the apostleship of St. Patrick • and he assigns as a reason for doing so,
that much of what had been written concerning the predecessors of that Monarcli was
mixed with fables and anachronisms. As this is a fault common to aU ancient histories,
no doubt Ware's criticism is just. Two things in it, however, are worthy ot notice,
namely— first, that Laeghaire had predecessors in the monarchy, and monuments
which speak of them ; and second, that these monuments were mixed with tables and
anachronisms. — MacGcoghegan.



that I entertained hopes of joining to my own labours the assistance of antiauaries I
held most in estoemfor compiling a body of Annals, wherein those matters shou d be
digested under their proper heads ; judging that, should such a compilation be
neglected at present or consigned to a future time, a risk might be run that the
materials for It would never again be brought together." uu mat tne

And O'Clery adds :

" ^^ *^!f/f f }}'^J^ collected the most authentic Annals I could find in my travels
^rom A B. 1616 to 1632) through the kingdom ; from which I have compiled tL work
wbich I now commit to the world under your name and patronage."

The Annals so collected by O'Clery were digested as follows • One
portion of them is an historical abridgment of the Irish Kings, their reign
and succession,* their genealogies and death ; another portion is a tract
on the genealogies of the Irish saints, called Smdilogium Genealoqicum •
the third treats of the first inhabitants and different conquests of Ireland'
the succession of her Kings, their wars, and other remarkable events from
the Deluge until the arrival of the English in the twelfth centurv •
another of the works was called the Annals of Donegal; and another, the
Irish Genealogies. '

From O'Ckry's Irish Genealogies, and other sources, O'Ferrall, who
TT^na 1^- Historiographer to Qaeen Anne, translated into English, A.D
i r^i^^ ^I'^^^^^^n^^- a Manuscript copy of which was deposited in
the Office of Arms, Ireland, and another in the Royal Library at Windsor •
but which does not contain all the Irish pedigrees given by O'Clery It
would appear that it gives the pedigrees of those families only who were
of note in Ireland in OTerrall's time. In Sir William Betham's edition of
the Lmea Antigua, however, many Irish genealogies are given which are
not mentioned by O'Ferrall, but which are contained in O'Ciery's Book of
Irish Pedigrees, and recorded by Mac Firbis.


In all ages and in all nations some families were more distinf^uished
than others : some were known by the prefix D3, Von, or Don ; the Mac was
peculiar to Scotland, while Ireland retained the 0' and Mac. Without
U and Mac the Irish have no names, according to the old verse :

*' Per 0' atque Mac, veros cognoscis Hibernos ;
His duobus demptis, nullus Hibernus adest."

Which has been translated thus—

" By Mac and 0' you'll always know
True Irishmen, they say :
But, if they lack the 0' or MaCy
No Irishmen are they."

Many of the old Irish families omit the 0\ and Mac; others of them,

mnrl^ffT'''-'' ' ■^^"'''^ ^f reasonably asserted that the people who were able to
mlprnn i^y°JP^^^^«« i recording the names of their kings, their reign and


from causes over which they had no control, have so twisted and
translated their sirnames, that it is often difficult to determine whether
those families are of Irish, English, or French extraction By \ooking for
the sirname, however, in the page of this Work to which the Index of
Sirnames" refers, the descent of the family bearing that name may, as a

^""^^thei'fSsl're considered as of English, or Anglo-Norman descent ;
but some of those families can be easily traced to Irish origin For
example- ''Hort" can be derived from the Irish proper name Oli-Airt ;
"Ouse ley" and MVesley," from Mac Uaislaidh [Mac Oossley] ; '/ Verdon'
and -DeVerdon," from the liish fhear-donn [fhar-dun] signifying the
^' brown man/' "Vernon" and " Mac Vernon," from the Ivish fhear-num
(nuin • Irish, the ash tree) ; etc. . , ^, . ,. i ^i

This volume also contains the names of the Irish Chiefs and Clans m
Ireland from the tweKth to the fifteenth century, and where the territories
they possessed were located ; the names of the leading families of Anglo-
Norman, English, and Scotch descent, who settled in Ireland from the
twelfth to the seventeenth century; and of the modern Irish Nobility.
Under these several heads Connellan's " Four Masters" contains very full
information-more than, in case of the Irish Chiefs and Clans, is given m
O'Dugan's and O'Heerin's Topographies: Connellan we have therefore
adopted, save, in a few instances where we found that some ot the irisn
families were, inadvertently perhaps mystifierJ. f^Hnwincr

Some Irish sirnames are now obsolete, and some extinct ; the ioiJo^S
are the modern forms of a few of the obsolete sirnames : il/aci^r6^s has
become "Forbes;" MacGeough, " Goff," " Gough," and "MacGough;
MacBcmall, " Keynell" and " Reynolds ;" MacTague, "Mon ague ;" W%m,
"Molyneux;" O'Barie, "Barry;" O'Bearra, "Berry" and "Bury, ^
aCaoinhan, "Keenan;" O'Z^on.cAo, " O'Donoghue'' and " ^ ^^.^J^^lj^f^^.
aGnieve, "Agnue" and " Agnew;" 0'i?aMy, "O'Reilly" and OReiUy ,

On the importance that should attach in our schools and colleges to a
knowledge of the Irish language,* the late lamented Mr. Patrick McMahon,
M.P., for New Koss, writing to us on the subject, says :

"I think it a great pity that Irish is not more studied as a Key to Greek and
Latin and the modern dialects of Latin. One .vho knows Irish ^^^^llw 11 readily
master Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. O^Carthagmian tore
Mhers were l^med for' their knowledge of languages :C..^Aa,o ^^^-f ^^- ^n effort
should he made to have it taught more generally m the Irish «^^°°l^/;^^^^/^^;^^^'l:
not through antiquarian sentimentality, hut as the readiest means of enabhng our
youths to^ master^ modern languages/ 'l am very glad to see that you know it so

* Irish Zavffuage : Of that language Archbishop Ussher, ^^'^testant .^^^^^^^^^
Armagh, wrote-" Est quidem lingua Hihemica, et elegans cum P^^^J^' ^^ °Xs inSa*
sed ad eam isto modo excolendam (sicuti reliquas fere Europse l^^.g^^l^^,^^^',^]^? ^^*^
hoc s«culum excultas videmus), nondum exstitit l^^cten^^ ^^ .^^i^^^ Xa ^
nullum adhuc hahemus hujua linguae Lexicon, sive per se factum, sive cum ana nngui.
comparatum." — i:pist. Usser.


To the Irish-speaking people the Irish language is rich, elegant, soul-
stirnng and expressive ; and, for figurative or ornamentation purposes
can favourably compare with any other language in the world

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Irish language was' proscribed
But now, that linguists have found that the Celtic is the "Key" to the

Z.Jv f^Kr^r^°*<?v,"-°P'/ ^"^d that some European Universities have
already established Chairs for the cultivation of Celtic learning, let m
hope that the State, which has undertaken to preserve from decay « Celtic
Antiquities" m Great Britain and Ireland that are not so ancient as the
Celtic language, will, for its intrinsic value to Philology, if not for its great
TtUG^eh *^^ "*' ^^^P'^'^'^*' and mellifluous language

H,vf!?^p'^Ti,'?*"''°'°'T'^°^^'"P''"*'' •'t*t«s.a"<l nations, since the
&,f ■ '"^''^•' * T ^^l^^""}^ - Tbe Assyriant made way for the
Babylonian empire; the Babylonian, for the Medo-Persian ; the Medo-
Persian, for the Macedonian ; the Macedonian, for the Roman ; and in its
turn also, the Roman empire ceased to have existence : so, in Ireland the
Tuatha-de-Danans conquered the ancient Firblogs (or Firvolgians) ; so the
Milesian or Scotic Nation conquered the Tuatha-de-Dananl; and so, in
Us turn, was the Milesian Irish Nation ultimately subdued hy the An-lo-
Nonnans; as were the De-Danans by the Milesians; as were the ancient
Britons by the Saxons; and as were the Saxons by the Normans. But

r."r„=rAl°'^''nf *!,'•''" '""'■'".^^ '=^*'°'^' *''e progresses and retro-
giessions of the world's history are from God. His writing is upon the
wall whenever and wherever it is His holy will.


Eminent German Geologists and Ethnologists maintain that the locality
of Man's primitive origin, the seat of the Garden of Eden-the so-caM
"Paradise"-was in the Pacific Ocean, south of the present continent of
Asia, westward to Africa, and eastward to Australia. When the great

and m the United States of America ; and from the fSat s Lfms i^^^ ? ?
a portion of the »„■««&„, i„the Iri^h National Schoos'aSa^rthe schools in^^^^^^
nexionwih the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland More Sv still fhl
^^JorZ:1^U:!^^J-,^^'< - ''^^ ....«.„Tls»S£!

Empires of Antiquity.
k ''!r^Z:r'' lasted M13 year.

3. „ Medo-Persian 222 "

4. „ Greek or Macedonian 187 "

5. „ Koman j 229 "

^rioZf ^fs" o'/ears!"'°" """"' " ''''^^ ' - »-• !««« '» - "^t LTurinfa


Pacific continent* slowly sank, so that the ocean commenced filling up the
Talleys, Man retreated to the mountains, which, by continued sinking, were
transformed into islands ; and now form the many groups oi Polynesia.
If this theory could be reconciled with the narrative in the Sacred
Volume (see Genesis, ii. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)— and Scripture Commentators
confess that the sites of some countries, cities, and places mentioned m
the Bible are even yet unascertained— it would explain the origin of the
ancient temples and other buildings found in America after us discovery
by Christopher Columbus, a.d. 1492; and proclaim the great civilization
of the inhabitants of the Pacific continent before its submersion. It is
not, however, difficult to understand that, civilized as those people may
then have been, the insular position of the races thus preserved should,
in the absence of intercourse with other civijized nations, have, m the
course of sges, conduced to a savage condition— savage in some instances
even at the present day; nor is it difficult to see that their insular
position should also have conduced to the pieservation of their language-
whatever it may have been.

Writing of the Pyramids of Egypt— " those stupendous monuments of
human labour and engineering skill,"' Canon U. J. Bourke says :

"Egypt stands in her Pyramids a perennial landmark in the domain of the world's
history, connecting the period of the Deluge with the present. Take away the records
written hy the pen of ]\Ioses, there still remain the Pyramids, raising their heads ahove
all passing mists, and proclaiming the story of the knowledge and ^ the skill, and the
practical power of the immediate posterity of Noah and his chHdren.


The first inhabitants of Europe after the Deluge were the Celts, who
were descended from Japhet. But the Celts and the Gaels were identical
in origin ; for, according to Liddell (in his "History of Ptome"), Celt is
strictly the same as Gael, and the Greek Keltai and GaUatai and the Latm

* Cordinent • It is a well-k-nown fact that the whole Pacific coast (especially
California) with all its mountains, is peipetually rising, and that at a compaiatively
rapid rate. The land containing f n its bosom the great American lakes is slowly
sinking • while Southern Indiana, Kentucky, and the surrounding States are rising.
Geological investigations prove that those gieat lakes, except Ontario, had tormerly a
southern outlet; until, by gradual northern depressions and southern upheavals, a
norihem cutlet was formed from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, about forty thousand
8 ago ! This outlet—the Niagara river— is still wearing its channel. ^ The division
of the watershed south of the lakes and the Mississippi Valley has since that time


Island at the estimated rate of about sixteen inches per century. The coast of Texas
is ascending at a comparatively very rapid rate— some observers stating that it is aa
much as thirty or forty inches in the last half century. Combining these observations
with the results of the recent deep-sea soundings of the United States steamer
"Tuscarora," in the Pacific Ocean, we find that the bed of that ocean is evidently a
sunken continent ; abounding in volcanic mountains some twelve thousand ±eet high,
many of them not reaching the surface of the ocean, and others, which do so, forming
the numberless islands of the Pacific. The .-tudy of coral rocks proves that this sinking
has continually been taking place during several centuries ; and observations oi the
coast reveals the fact that it has not ceased.



Galh are all one. Heretofore, however, the Celts and the Gaels were con-
sidered as two distinct nations : the Celts as descended from Gomer • the
Gaels, from Magog— two of the sons of Japhet. '

According to O'Brien's "Irish Dictionary," that portion of the pos-
terity of Japhet, which peopled the south and south-west parts of Europe
must, after the Deluge, have first proceeded from the centre of the dis-
persion of mankind (Genesis xi. 8,) towards the straits of the Thracian
Bosphorus, and those of the Hellespont, which they crossed by means -of
boats ; whose construction was, doubtless, familiar to them from the
traditional knowledge they had of the Ark. Those tribes which passed
over the Hellespont first inhabited the south parts of Thrace,* as also
Macedonia or ancient Greece; and those which crossed the Thracian
Bosphorus (now called the straits of Constantinople) must have been the
first inhabitants both of the northern parts of Thrace and of Lower, and
Upper, Mesia, and also of Dacia when some of them had crossed the
Danube.! In process of time a portion of the tribes which first settled
m the two Mesias and the northern parts of Thrace proceeded towards
lllyricum and Pannonia ; from which regions, where they were separated
into two different bodies, it is natural to conclude (from the situation of
those locahties) that they proceeded towards the west by two different
courses : those of Pannonia going towards Noricum (now called Austria),
btina, Carniola, and Upper Bavaria— from which countries it would appear
that all the western parts of Germany were first peopled, as the east and
north-east of that country were probably peopled from Dacia; and those
ot lllyricum taking their course towards Istria, from which point of the
Adriatic coast they poured down into the regions of Italy, whence, in after
ages some of them proceeded to Gaul, speaking the very same lan<^ua<^e
as that spoken by those of their nation whom they left in Italy, and^'who
by the ancient authors, were called Indigence or Aborigines: meaning that
they were the original or primitive people who first inhabited that land.
Ihose people were the Siculi, the Ausones, the Umbri (and all their
descendants of different names mentioned by Cluver in his Geogr., Liber 3,
\^^'V'^^^^' Sonie of the ancient authors rank the Aborigines with
the Umbrians, whom Pliny (Lib. 3, c. 14) represents as the most ancient
people of Italy : " Umbrorum gens Antiquissima Italiee existimatur ;" and
Morus calls them '' Antiquissimus Italic populus." But it is conceded
that the Aborigines were a tribe of the first inhabitants of Italy and, con-
sequently, of the same stock of people of whom the first planters of Gaul
were only a detachment; as the Umbri are acknowledged by some of the
ancient authors to have been of the same stock as the old Gauls. The
babini, who, as well as the Umbri and the Aborigines, formed a portion of

* Thrace: The ancient name of Adrianople, in Thrace, was, according to
Ammianus f7sa*rfama ( uisge" : Irish, water, and " daimW^ a house, more correctly
aomn, Lat. dom-us ), meaning "the watery residence :" showing an aflinitv in
language between the Thracians and the ancient Irish ! ^

T^-^T,'*' ??r^^Vl^?, ""^T l{^^.^ ^!^^^ " Danube" is. in the old Celtic, Damn (" dana :"
Wfn ' • ""^^'^ 2' ?^^T-': ^^ ^^^ I"«^ ^°^d ^^' ^^^'^)' a^d siff^ifies - the bold

^^fv: I *^ ""^^^ ?/ }^f ^^^'^ ^^^^^ Garumna and the French Garonne : each of
which hterally means " the boisterous river."


the people afterwards called Latins, were but a tribe of the Umbri, and
consequently of the same stock as the primitive Gauls. That the primitive
inhabitants of the above-mentioned regions had originally but one and the
same language, Cluver, in his German. Antiq., c. 6, 7, 8, produces clear
vestiges in Gaul, Germany, Spain, Italy, and lUyricum ; he might have
added Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece :

*' I am much inclined," says the Right Rev. Dr. O'Brien, ** to believe that the near
agreement which the ancient writers have remarked between the old Latin and Greek
was, in greater measure, owing to this original identity of the European languages,
than to whatever mixture might have been introduced into the Latin from the dialects
of the Greek adventurers that came to Italy from time to time. Nor do I doubt but
that the Gauls who repassed the Alps and settled in Upper Italy in the earliest times
of the Romans, found the language of that country very nearly agreeing with their
own : in the same manner and by the same reason that the people of Ireland and
those of the Highlands of Scotland easily understand each other's dialects, though it
be now near twelve hundred years since the Scots of Scotland parted from those of

That the Iberno-Celtic or Gaelic-Irish language is the best preserved
dialect of the old Celtic, and therefore the most useful for illustrating the
antiquities of all the Celtic nations, was the opinion of the great Leibnitz,
who, in his Colledan. Etijmol. vol. i., p. 153, writes :

" Postremo, ad perficiendam, vel certe valde promo vendam litteraturam Celticam
diligentius Linguae llibernicaB studium adjungendum censeo, ut Lhudius egregie facere
caepit. Nam, uti alibi jam admonui, quemadmodum Angli fuere Colonia Saxonum, et
Brittanni emissio veterum Celtarum, Gallorum, Cimbrorum ; ita Hiberni sunt, propago
antiquiorum Britannise habitatorum, colonis Celticis, Cimbricisque nonnuUis, ut sic
dicam, medus anteriorum. Itaque ut ex Anglicis linguae veterum Saxonum, et ex Cam-
bricis veterum Gallorum ; ita ex Hibemicis vetustiorum adhuc Celtarum, Germanorum-
que, &c., ut generaliter dicam. accolarum Oceani Britannici Cismarinorum antiquates
illustrantur. Et si ultra Hiberniam esset aliquae insula Celtici sermonis, ejus lilo in
muito adhuc antiquiora duceremur."

And the learned Welshman,* Edward Lhuyd, mentioned by Leibnitz
in the foregoing extract, acknowledges that the roots of the Latin are
better and more abundantly preserved in the Irish than in the Welsh,
which is the only Celtic dialect that can pretend to vie with the Gaelic
Irish, as regards purity or perfection. Addressing the Irish nation, Lhuyd

*' Your language is better situated for being preserved than any other language to
this day spoken throughout Europe ;"

meaning, no doubt, that languages are best preserved in islands and in
mountain-countries, as being the most difficult of access for strangers ; and
especially because the Roman arms never reached Ireland, which, up to the
Danish invasion, received no colonies but from Celtic countries. But,
addressing the Welsh, the candid Lhuyd gives the preference to the Irish,
not only for purity and perfection, as well as for priority of establishment
in the British Isles, but also for its utility in illustrating the remote anti-
quities of Great Britain ; he says :

" It is impossible to be a complete master of the ancient British, without a com-
petent knowledge of the Irish language."

* Welshman: See Lhuyd' s " Irish Vocabulary ;" Siud h.ia ArcJtoeologia Britannica,
published in English by Dr. Nicholson, in his " Irish Library."


And he fully establishes the fact that the Gaels* had been

before the Cymri or ancient Britons (who were the ancestors of the Welsh)
arrived in that island ; and that the dialect of those Gaels was then the
universal language of the whole British Isle.f

The Island of Great Britain was called by the Gaels, Allan, Alhain,
("aili": Irish, a rock or cliff; and "hsiU,'^ white: because, it is thought.
of the chalky or white cliffs of Dover, as seen from the direction of Gaul),